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Wed, 29 Mar 2023
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'Explosive' Food Prices the Biggest Risk: Analyst

© Getty Images
Overheating emerging markets, in China in particular, pose the biggest threat to the market and political situation in 2011 according to Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets.

"These economies are clearly overheating and governments are putting measures in place to slow them down to fight inflationary pressure. More than anything else, food inflation is a problem," Gijsels told CNBC.com.

"In countries were 70 percent to 80 percent and sometimes more of a family's budget goes to food, explosive price rises risk to destabilize these societies. Remember the old saying: 'hunger starves civilizations,'" he added.

"We believe that some of these governments will be quite aggressive in their inflation fight. And we do not even want to think about the consequences if this year were to have a disappointing monsoon," Gijsels said.

He is worried that everyone is so bullish on China's ability to engineer a soft landing.


In Defense of Clear Thinking

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
~ Herbert Spencer

My academic life in college was largely spent studying what were then referred to as the "liberal arts." History, geography, economics, philosophy, art, literature, music, psychology, and the genuine sciences, were among the various subject areas we considered essential to becoming mature, self-directed, learned individuals. We also studied one or more foreign languages, not simply to help us navigate our trips to other lands, but to provide us with the perspective that there are other people on the planet who think, live, and speak differently from us.

This approach to learning helped to provide us with the means of thinking clearly, rationally, and logically; to help us understand causal relationships in analyzing the interconnected and unpredictable complexities of our world; to distinguish fact from fantasy, and transcendent truths from fashionable opinion; all for the purpose of living as responsible individuals pursuing our respective self-interests with others.

Bad Guys

Hell house: Pets live in torment among corpses

© Victor Alcorn
ABUSED: An animal-shelter employee (pictured) yesterday trims the matted fur from one of the dogs saved from a Rockville Centre home, along with the other pets above.
Their mouths were muzzled and wrapped in so much tape they couldn't breathe, bark or eat. Their fur was matted with filth and the house was crammed with so much trash, it hid the floor.

A Long Island mother and daughter were arrested yesterday after more than a dozen tortured dogs and cats were rescued from a filth-riddled Rockville Centre home that included more than two dozen decomposing animal remains, cops said.

Judge Anna Anzalone teared up as prosecutors showed pictures of a dog skull with tape still visible on it, as well as the squalor in the small house.


US: Victim of Arizona Shooting Arrested After Threatening Tea Party Leader at Town Hall

One of the Arizona shooting victims was arrested Saturday and then taken for a psychiatric evaluation after authorities said he took a picture of a tea party leader at televised town hall meeting and yelled "you're dead."


US: 86 Teens Pregnant at One Memphis High School

© unknown
A new campaign to prevent teen pregnancies has been launched in Memphis in response to a huge spike in expectant mothers at one area high school.

According to recent statistics, 86 students at Frayser High School are pregnant or have given birth in the last year, myfoxmemphis.com reported.

The new campaign - called "No Baby!" - is designed to educate both teenage girls and boys about how to prevent and deal with unplanned pregnancies. The program is also tailored to give girls the confidence to "just say no" to sex.

"Right now, these girls don't know how to say 'no,' they're having sex when they don't want to, they just don't know how to say 'no,'" Deborah Hester Harrison with Girls Inc., which is a nonprofit group, told the news station.

Another concern for these young mothers is the lack of prenatal care.

"A lot of these girls aren't developmentally ready to be really effective parents, and that affects the child's development," Marc Goodman-Bryan with the Urban Child Institute said.


Canada: Woman, 82, 'Humiliated' by Airport Security

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Cancer survivor Elizabeth Strecker says she was humiliated by security workers at the Calgary airport on Jan. 13, 2011.
An 82-year-old woman says she was humiliated by airport security who forced her to reveal her gel prosthesis during a recent public pat-down at Calgary's airport.

Elizabeth Strecker, who was flying to British Columbia after visiting her children last week, says that she will never fly again following the incident.

"It was terribly humiliating and embarrassing for me," she told CTV British Columbia in an interview.

Her ordeal began as Strecker was going through security checks at Calgary's airport.

But when a pin in her leg set off a metal detector, she was directed to a body scanner.

Next, she was asked if she was carrying any liquids or gels, which are barred from flights unless they are in small amounts.

When asked, Strecker demurred: "I didn't think I had to tell the whole world I had a mastectomy."

Light Sabers

9 die in battle for Mogadishu

© Unknown
Members of al-Shabab group
At least nine people have been killed in clashes between Somali government troops and al-Shabab fighters in Mogadishu.

Three people lost their lives after a fierce gun battle broke out between al-Shabab fighters and transitional government troops in Mogadishu's northern district of Hodan late on Friday.

The skirmishes continued till the crack of dawn, a Press TV correspondent reported on Saturday.

In addition, six civilians were killed and ten others were wounded when mortar shells landed in and around Bakara Market -- the biggest and busiest market in southern Mogadishu.

"I saw the dead bodies of three civilians including a young child in Bakara Market," said an eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.


Deposed Tunisian President Ben Ali's close relative slain in Tunis

© Unknown
Ousted Tunisian ruler Zine El Abidin Ben Ali and his wife Leila
Imed Trabelsi, nephew of the powerful Tunisia's former first lady Leila Ben Ali, died on Sunday night in a military hospital in the capital city of Tunis, AFP reported.

In May, former Tunisian president appointed Trabelsi as mayor of the commune of La Goulette north of Tunis.

His appointment was criticized by the opposition since he had gained a bad reputation for corrupt practices.

Trabelsi is the first confirmed victim in the former president's family, known for their corruption.

In 2007, France ordered his arrest after the theft of a swish yacht belonging to Lazard Bank executive Bruno Roger, who is close to President Nicolas Sarkozy and former President Jacques Chirac. His country refused to extradite him.

In the past weeks, there have been massive street protests across Tunisia against what has been described as the theft of Tunisian wealth and lack of opportunities for the average citizen.

Che Guevara

Degage! Tunisian protesters say PM must go too

© Unknown
Tunisian demonstrators have called on Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi to step down and leave the country, shortly after he announced that he had taken over as interim president.

Ghannouchi announced that he was assuming power on Friday, promising to enact social and political reforms. But tensions remain high and protesters in the capital are now reportedly demanding that Ghannouchi resign and leave the country.

The Tunisian army took control of the North African nation when President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali left the country due to a groundswell of public discontent shortly after sacking his cabinet members, AFP reported.

Tunisian military units have surrounded the international airport on the outskirts of Tunis after another day of unrest on the streets of the capital.

There are reports that Ghannouchi plans to hand over power to the leader of the Tunisian parliament, Fouad Mbazaa.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports about where Ben Ali is headed. Some reports say the president is heading for Qatar but Maltese air traffic controllers said that he is on his way to Paris via Malta.


Egyptians call for Tunisian-style demos - which of the Arab dictatorships will fall next?

© Unknown
Tunisian youths throw stones at police forces in Tunis on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011.
Hundreds of Egyptians have gathered outside the Tunisian Embassy in Cairo to show their solidarity with Tunisians and have called for protests similar to those in Tunisia.

Egyptian activists opposed to President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade regime also looked to Friday's events in Tunisia with hope.

Activists are out on the streets to celebrate the overthrow of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who has fled the country. Anti-government demonstrations drove Ben Ali from power on Friday after 23 years in office.

The celebrating Egyptians congratulated the Tunisian people over their victory against their government, AFP reported.

"Ben Ali, tell Mubarak a plane is waiting for him too!" and "We are next, we are next, listen to the Tunisians, it's your turn Egyptians!" chanted the demonstrators, surrounded by heavy security. Reports say that Egyptian police have fanned out across the capital.